The decision by Rex Airlines to scrap its Whyalla- Adelaide flights is a direct result of Labor’s refusal to fund security screening costs at Whyalla Airport Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said.
“The Coalition Government had allocated a top-up of $28.5m for the Regional Airport Screening Infrastructure Program in our last Budget to assist in the airport’s one million a year operational cost,” he said. “I was disgusted this support for Whyalla airport was scrapped by Labor in its October Budget and warned Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Catherine King a number of times that services would be cut as a result.
“If Minister King disputes this, we need to look no further than the fact the program has been funded for more than 12 months since this new Government came to power and has simply expired. They have refused to extend the funding.
“I have been raising the consequences of Labor’s inaction with the Minister since before its first Budget in October 2022.
“I put a Question in Writing to her and have spoken in Parliament of my fears if this funding was not reinstated.”
Mr Ramsey said the increased impost to regional airports came as a result of screening scanners introduced into regional airports originally introduced by Anthony Albanese himself in 2011, now applying to operating aircraft with seating in excess of 40 and more than 30,000 passenger movements a year.
“Now my predictions have come to pass with dire consequences for a city that relies on air services and an appalling outcome at a time when there is so much focus on new investment in Whyalla.
“The Whyalla council has had to make a tough decision as to where it would claw back the expense of running the scanners. It is a predicament the council should never have been put in by the Federal Government.
“Airline security is a national issue and should be funded on a national basis and not by gouging those of us who live in the country and are most disavdantged by the tyranny of distance.
Media contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 0417827523
May 18 2023